Mayor hopeful Auckland will move to Orange before Christmas

Wilson Longhurst
Source: 1News

On the first day of the Covid-19 Protection Framework marking Auckland’s release from lockdown, the city’s mayor is ambitious more freedom isn’t too far away.

Tāmaki Makaurau, which has a 90 per cent fully vaccinated rate, is currently at the Red level. The Government is reviewing the status of each region on Monday December 13.

Eighty cases were reported in the city on Friday, part of the lowest nationwide daily case tally since late October.

The Government’s said it’s taking a cautious approach with the colours of the traffic light initially, with no region in the Green setting.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is hoping his city is in for a change before Christmas.

“I hope we make our way through to Green, I hope maybe in a fortnight, would it be too much to hope to get to Orange?” he said.

“Balance that factor with yes, we relish our freedoms, but yes, we want to keep everybody safe, particularly the most vulnerable.”

Earlier on Friday, new National Party leader Christopher Luxon said the city should be at the Green setting.

Goff attended a cake-cutting alongside health leaders in the central city on Friday afternoon marking the occasion of nine in 10 eligible Aucklanders having had both doses of the Covid-19 jab.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff celebrates 90 per cent of eligible Aucklanders getting their two Covid-19 vaccinations.

Counties Manukau is the only Auckland District Health Board yet to reach the 90 per cent target, with 87 per cent of people having had two vaccines.

Both Auckland and Waitematā are now well over the target.

Māori vaccination rates in the city are lower; 80 per cent in Auckland, 77 per cent in Waitematā and 71 per cent in Counties Manukau fully protected.

Northern Region Health Coordination Centre’s Māori lead Karl Snowden said getting more tangata whenua vaccinated was a "massive priority" ahead of Kirihimete (Christmas).

“We know that the majority of the whānau that are becoming cases are unvaccinated so it is a constant focus of ours to keep trying to raise that percentage up because we know that’s the way we get protection for our whānau,” he said.

He says many people who have only recently been vaccinated felt one-on-one conversations needed to be happen much earlier than they have, so people could get the correct information about the vaccine.

“Our outreach services are starting to see the benefits of that and starting to get good numbers of Maori through the first doses,” Snowden said.

Even if Auckland doesn’t shift to the Orange setting in two weeks, vaccinated people or those with a negative test will be allowed to leave the city on December 15.